Fw: BMCR 2005.07.13, Allen, Marsilio Ficino. Vol. 4
----- Original Message -----
To: <unlisted-recipients:>; <no To-header on input>
Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2005 8:44 PM
Subject: BMCR 2005.07.13, Allen, Marsilio Ficino. Vol. 4
> Michael J.B. Allen, James Hankins, Marsilio Ficino. Platonic Theology.
> Volume 4: Books XII-XIV. I Tatti Renaissance Library, 13. Cambridge,
> MA: Harvard University Press, 2004. Pp. 371. ISBN 0-674-01482-0.
> Reviewed by Maude Vanhaelen, Universite/ Libre de Bruxelles
> Word count: 1035 words
> This is the fourth volume of the I Tatti Renaissance Library project of
> reediting Marsilio Ficino's Platonic Theology, thus superseding Raymond
> Marcel's pioneering edition and French translation published in
> 1964-1970. In addition, this new edition provides for the first time an
> English translation facing the Latin text, making Ficino's Platonic
> Theology available to a wide readership. It also includes, at the end
> of the volume, two sets of explanatory notes (to the text and to the
> translation), a selected bibliography of secondary sources, and an
> author and subject index.
> Volume IV of the I Tatti edition contains Books XII-XIV of Ficino's
> Platonic Theology. It includes some of the most important Renaissance
> texts on the immortality of the soul and on the concepts of theurgy,
> phantasy and vacatio. Book XII demonstrates that the soul is immortal
> because it is formed by the Divine Mind, and deals with the soul's
> ascent to the divine ideas. Book XIII demonstrates the soul's
> immortality by four signs : phantasy, reason and prophecy, arts, and
> miracles. Book XIV demonstrates the soul's immortality from the fact
> that the soul strives to become God.
> 1) The text:
> The text incorporates several significant improvements to Marcel's
> edition, avoiding numerous misprints and unnecessary conjectural
> emendations. At the end of the volume the "notes to the translation"
> include the variant readings of the different witnesses and indicate
> departures from Marcel's edition.
> As previously shown by Marcel (Marsile Ficin. The/ologie Platonicienne.
> Tome I. Livres I-VIII, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1964, pp. 17-30), the
> text of Platonic Theology is preserved in two manuscripts, the London
> manuscript Harleianus 3482 (the personal copy written for King Fernando
> the First), and the Florence manuscript Pluteus 83.10 (the dedication
> copy written for Lorenzo de' Medici). Harleianus 3482 derives from the
> second edition printed in Venice in 1491 and can therefore be
> eliminated from the apparatus. Laurentianus Pluteus 83.10, however,
> contains a text that is independent of the editio princeps (Florence
> 1482). There are therefore two primary witnesses, which probably derive
> independently from the same archetype: the editio princeps, printed in
> Florence in 1482, which Ficino saw through the press and probably
> corrected himself (= A), and the Florence manuscript Pluteus 83.10 (=
> L). The text is also preserved in five early modern editions, including
> the famous Basle edition of 1576 of Ficino's complete works. Excerpts
> of the text are to be found in other works by Ficino: the Disputatio
> contra iudicium astrologicum (preserved in the codex unicus
> Magliabechiano XX, 58), as well as his Letters, his Compendium
> Platonicae Theologiae, and his De Christianae Religione.
> As stated in the first volume of the edition (p. 315), the I Tatti
> editors have drawn from Marcel's edition, which is based upon the
> collation of the two manuscripts (H and L), the first two editions
> printed during Ficino's lifetime (A and B), and the five other early
> modern editions. However, they have completely re-collated the text's
> two primary witnesses and, as a result, they have been able to emend
> Marcel's collation, which was not always accurate. They also tend to
> adopt, when possible, the text as it is preserved in the
> manuscripts/editions and sensibly delete Marcel's sometimes unnecessary
> corrections and conjectural additions. For example, in XIII, 4, section
> 16, the editors have avoided Marcel's conjecture illa, preferring AL's
> reading ille (si quando anima hominis ita fingat aciem suam in deum
> divinoque lumine impleatur rapiaturque ut ILLE tunc aeque coruscat,
> ...). In one place (XIV, 10, § 11), however, the editors follow
> Marcel's excellent conjecture delebit instead of A's debebit and L's
> habebit (itaque si deum colere cogit certa quaedam positio siderum,
> brevi positio contraria e memoria hominum divinos DELEBIT honores).
> Hankins' re-collation of the two primary witnesses (A and L) also
> indicates that Marcel's text followed sometimes too readily that of the
> Basle edition (which had itself been unnecessarily corrected by its
> editor) in places where A and L offer a better reading (e.g. converso :
> e converso Marcel, Op; suppliciter : simpliciter Marcel, Op; appetant :
> appetent Marcel, Op; quid mirum : quid mirum est Marcel, Op; appetit :
> petit Marcel, Op.).
> 2) The translation:
> The I Tatti Renaissance Library also provides for the first time an
> English translation of Ficino's Platonic Theology, facing the Latin
> text. It is divided into chapters and paragraphs and annotated. Michael
> J. B. Allen, who has already edited, translated and commented upon
> several works of Ficino (including Ficino's commentaries on Plato's
> Sophist, Philebus, Phaedrus), provides here an altogether elegant and
> readable translation.
> The "notes to the translation" include Ficino's sources for quotations
> and allusions. Although they follow closely Marcel's references,
> Allen's notes are more complete and accurate (e.g. the reference in
> XII, 1 is to Psalm 4, 6 and 36, 9 and not, as indicated by Marcel,
> Psalm 4, 7 and 25, 10). One will also find useful explanations to the
> text and alternative translations of difficult passages, as well as
> some basic information concerning the sources used by Ficino and the
> broader context in which these sources are used.
> A very short bibliography at the end of the volume lists secondary
> sources on Ficino and Renaissance humanism, including two
> bibliographies (Kristeller's Marsilio Ficino and His Work after Five
> Hundred Years and the bibliography updated annually in the journal
> Accademia). To the works mentioned, however, the editors ought to have
> added major contributions by scholars in other languages than English,
> and in particular the seminal works of Eugenio Garin and Cesare Vasoli.
> The I Tatti project represents a major contribution to Renaissance
> studies, as it becomes increasingly necessary to produce reliable
> editions and translations of works of the Italian Renaissance written
> in Latin. By providing an accurate text and a readable translation in
> an elegant yet affordable format, this volume will benefit both
> scholars and students, who might not be familiar with Ficino's
> sometimes difficult and elliptical Latin. It will interest not only
> those who are working on Ficino and Italian humanism but also anyone
> who is concerned with the history of Platonism and Neoplatonism. No
> doubt this edition will stimulate further studies on Ficino's Platonic
> Theology, which will in turn enlighten significant aspects of Ficino's
> thought, identify new sources and provide a comprehensive exegesis of
> this fundamental text.
> The BMCR website (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/) contains a complete
> and searchable archive of BMCR reviews since our first issue in 1990.
> It also contains information about subscribing and unsubscribing from
> the service.